Tips for a strees-free holiday season
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us and whether you are trying to get your shopping done, wrapping gifts or running from one party to the next, it can become overwhelming and make for a stressful time.
Even the positive things can become stressful.
"Keep in mind that 'shoulds' cause stress. So, if you're feeling like 'I should get this person a present or I should go to this party or I should take part in this activity,' that's not going to make you feel very good. What makes people feel good is when they're doing what they want to do," said Dr. Steven Tobias, psychologist and director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown.
What people need to do to keep things as stress-free as possible, is determine what they want to do and don't want to do during the holidays. "It's OK to be a little self-centered. It's OK to do what is best for you and your family instead of focusing on everyone else's needs," Tobias said.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to give to others and wanting to make others happy, but you cannot neglect yourself in the process. Being organized and efficient helps reduce stress as well, but it is also about putting your priorities in order and doing what will make you feel good.
For those going through divorce or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be extra tough and stressful.
"If you are going through a difficult time - if you are lonely, it is more difficult to cope. Sometimes, it's the expectations we have about the holiday season that can often make you feel worse," Tobias said.
In what he calls a "positive trend," Tobias said people are starting to focus on quieter holiday celebrations. "I am noticing that many people I speak to lately are choosing to have a quieter holiday and are spending more time with their immediate family instead of focusing on big things."